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District 1 Holiday Gala Delivered Fellowship And Funds

Amid Birmingham’s skyline, more than 500 residents came out to enjoy an evening filled with community fellowship and celebration for District One’s 8th Annual Holiday Gala.

“I love doing heartfelt things for my people,” Councilor Lashunda Scales said as the sounds of smooth jazz washed over the crowded room on the second floor of Regions Field. “I’ve been doing this event for eight years now. My goal was to establish two events throughout the year where we could take the politics out of what we’re doing and just enjoy being a community and to provide an opportunity where people can get to know me as a person.”

Scales said that each year she strives to make the event “bigger and better.” Sunday was no exception — from the beautiful table setting, to the seasonal decorations, it truly was a special event.

Seated at one of the tables near the stage, Echo Highlands neighborhood secretary, Angela Jenkins, spoke about why it is important to get members of the community together to celebrate the holidays.

Jenkins first moved to Echo Highlands in 1992. Over the years she said there has been great efforts made by citizens for city hall to improve the quality of life in her specific neighborhood. “This is a great opportunity for us to reflect on the great work that has been done over the past year,” Jenkins said of the annual gala. “For me, this is about Councilor Scales saying ‘thank you’ to all the neighborhood officers, people in the community and people at city hall for the work that we’ve accomplished together.”

For Jenkins, it is also a great excuse to “get all dressed up and have a good time.” Also in attendance on Sunday was Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Council President Valerie Abbott, Councilor William Parker, neighborhood officers, the Birmingham Public Library and other boards and agencies. Jenkins said she also loves the opportunity to engage her neighbors about solutions for whatever issue facing her community.

“One of our community’s biggest goal is to see the City work towards getting a grocery store in our neighborhood,” Jenkins said. “We actually have to travel to surrounding places to get groceries. The Mayor’s office and Councilor Scales are aware of this issue and we have talked a lot about it. So maybe by this time next year we can have a store of our own!”

As the night went on, there was plenty of joy to be spread around. Councilor Lashunda Scales presented several checks for the evening starting with a check presented to Jefferson State Community College in the amount of $60,000 for workforce development, a $50,000 check was presented to the Springville Road Library for much needed library resources.

“This is such a very generous allocation of City funds especially when one considers that she recently gave $25,000 for programming at the same branch,” Birmingham Public Library board member Kim Richardson wrote on her Facebook page after the event.

“Thank you Councilor Lashunda Scales for being such a generous and vocal supporter of our libraries and putting the dollars behind your words,” Richardson continued. “Although I couldn’t stay the entire time, last night’s gala was a beautifully done event that reflected your frequently stated beliefs about doing all things with excellence and supporting our young people. From the time we walked in the door, we saw young men and women involved in every aspect of the event. The constituents of District 1 are blessed to have you as a champion working on their behalf and all city residents should be proud of the example that you set for working tirelessly on behalf of those who elected you.”

This article is a contribution from Cody Owens ( in the Birmingham City Council Office of Public Information. For more information please contact 205.254.2294.